It's been talked about for a while now: governments are missing out on taxes that electric vehicles owners are no longer paying at the pump. It's no surprise, then, that a New Jersey lawmaker decided to do his part to put an end to what he sees as an inequity by drafting legislation to tax EV owners to cover their share of the gasoline tax.
Ignoring the fact that electric vehicles have other advantages -- just little things, like reducing pollution and helping to slowly ease reliance on fossil fuels -- state senator James Whelan decided enough was enough, and drafted language that, if passed, will tax electric cars by the mile for road maintenance. His staff is currently looking at adding additional alternatively fueled vehicles to the bill, including natural gas vehicles.
Problem is, the language he's drafted would end up costing electric car owners more than if they paid the state's current 14.5 cents per gallon. You see, someone decided to do the math. Namely, Steve Carrallas, state director of the National Motorists Association New Jersey chapter. Using the same amount of miles driven, Carrallas compared the gas tax owed by the owner of a conventional vehicle getting 25 mpg to the proposed tax of an electric vehicle owner traveling the same number of miles. He found the conventional car owner would fork over about $50 in a year's time while the EV owner would be paying over four times that much or about $209.
While it appears electric vehicle owners are willing to do their share to keep the roadways in good condition, proposing language such as that found in New Jersey senate bill 2531 without doing the homework first leaves a bad taste in the mouths of EV owners and brings into question the intentions, and ramifications, of this kind of legislation.
It's been talked about for a while now, but a University of Delaware project hit a milestone recently that has brought the dual advantage of electric vehicles to the forefront.
It's the revelation hitting the general population that could spur interest in EV purchase by those who didn't really give a hoot about the environmental arguments.
Potential owners of electric vehicles are finally opening their eyes to the fact that they could buy lower-cost electricity overnight, or even operate their own wind turbines or solar panels, storing excess energy in their cars. By day, owners could sell excess power back onto the grid from their parked cars, when energy prices are at peak.
The University of Delaware is bringing this opportunity to light by working with NRG Energy in starting in late 2011 in an attempt to commercialize the concept. Recently, the project hit a landmark and finally began selling power from parked electric cars into an energy market being developed by wholesale electricity dealer PJM.
The new year has been good to the hybrid market. Hybrid sales for 2013 were up 32 percent in just the first two months compared with the same period in 2012, according to research by Autodata Corp.
There are a lot of contributing factors causing the upswing that has finally jolted hybrid's market share to a long-held position under 3 percent to a new 4 percent and hints that it could double before the decade is out. High gas prices, better hybrid technology and a growing selection of hybrid models have all contributed to the numbers.
<p>Emission could be cut by as much as 80 percent by 2050, according to a new study out this week from the National Academy of Sciences. Greener cars -- whether electric, hybrid or other alternative fuel-driven vehicles -- should drastically cut national greenhouse gas emissions. President Barack Obama's push for gas-free driving will serve as a strong catalyst for getting the country there, the report concludes.</p>
<p>The report states that the President's push for new vehicle technologies will mean consumer adoption of currently available EVs, as well as future hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, should knock down carbon emissions to about one-fifth of current levels.</p>
<p>The study points out that consumer-drvien cars and small trucks account for about 17 percent of the nation's overall greenhouse gas emissions. The predicted green car movement could cut that level by more than 10 percent.</p>
<p>The Academy underscores that while some consumers may experience sticker show at the initial investment, longer-term benefits outweigh front-end costs.</p>
Enterprise Rent-A-Car's Shanghai location hopes to give a boost to China's green-car strategy with the country's first large-scale electric vehicle rental shop.
While Beijing has done a lot of talking about its eco-minded car plans -- China says it will have 500,000 electric and plug-in hybrids on the road by 2015 and 5 million by 2020 -- there's been little action. Enterprise is hoping its new business focus will give the push for green cars a much-needed jumpstart.
With electric car know-how dating back to the early 1900s, resurrected brand Detroit Electric is positioned to give Motor City a boost as a new automobile technology hub.
The company says it will plant its headquarters in Detroit, bring on 180 workers before the year is through and push out a new lineup of all-electric vehicles. The new line will include a limited-edition two-seater sports model based on the Lotus Elise's platform.
Don Graunstadt, CEO of Detroit Electric's North American Operations, has stated he believes too much attention is focused on the West Coast when it comes to the electric vehicle industry. Graunstadt says its not true that California has all the technology, telling local media that's more automotive talent in southeast Michigan that in all other states combined.
Look for Detroit Electric's first all-electric sports car to roll out to target markets as summer comes to a close. The company promises a diverse offering of vehicles as it rows, with two other high-performance models planned to enter production in late 2014.
With most of its staff laid off, and its vendors and suppliers either writing off their dealings with the automaker or, worse yet, hauling them into to court, it looks like start-up electric vehicle manufacturer Coda Automotive is unable to deliver as once promised.
Perhaps a goal of 10,000 vehicles was a bit over-ambitious, but Coda didn't even come close, selling only a few hundred electric vehicles.
Adding to the drama: the LA Observed reports that City Councilman Herb Wesson used $1 million of his district's slush fund to bring the company to L.A. from its former digs in Santa Monica. The publication claims the money was handed over without an application by the company nor a written analysis.
Range is increasingly becoming a non-issue with EVs as this latest story from alternative energy company Silex Power attests. On the tiny island nation of Malta, Silex Power is quietly developing a luxury EV it claims will blow all other EVs out of the water when it comes to miles-per-charge. That includes the Tesla Model S's incredible 265-mile-per-charge title.
Called the Chreos, Silex is announcing the vehicle will go an unbelievable 621 miles between charges. While you are chewing on that, let me tell you the other astounding claim: it takes only 10 minutes to charge.
This super EV makes use of a proprietary system Silex refers to as hypercharging, and owners will have the chance to plug the Chreos into a high-voltage charging station--you guessed it--developed specifically to accommodate the car's speedy charge.
Compare the hypercharge to Tesla's system for the Model S, which the company calls supercharging. The latter takes over an hour to charge, however.
It's probably hard for detractors of electric vehicles to believe, but reports are that California is beginning to experience a shortage of EV charging stations in public parking garages like those found at malls. With only a few charging stations available and many more electric and plug-in hybrid cars parked in these garages, the need for additional infrastructure is becoming evident, at least on the West Coast.
But it isn't as though we already aren't seeing a lot of infrastructure growth. In the last year, the number of charging stations took a 130% jump over the number of public stations available the previous year. In fact, over the past five years, there has been an average increase of about 90% each year, according to PA Consulting Group.
Regulatory incentives by both the federal government as well as local entities for installing public charging stations have helped give a boost to on-the-go powering up potential. No doubt the drop in average cost of a station--from around $10,000 to only about $2,000 (excluding installation, which varies)--has had a dramatic influence as well.
I wrote last month that PSA Peugeot-CitroŽn was getting ready to unveil their twist on a hybrid car--the Hybrid Air. Recall that rather than operating on gasoline and electric power, the Hybrid Air makes use of what could arguably be called one of the most renewable alternative energy: compressed air. The automaker claims the vehicle can run on air 80 percent of the time.
The Hybrid Air is garnering additional attention of late in anticipation to its debut in Geneva next month. Eighty patents were filed in development of the technology.
Next on the horizon? There's talk of the technology being incorporated into GM vehicles as part of an alliance forged with PSA last year.